Indian gang-rape victim dies in Singapore hospital
Published Friday, December 28, 2012 6:58AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 28, 2012 10:48PM EST
The victim of a violent gang-rape in New Delhi has died in a Singapore hospital more than two weeks after the brutal attack.
Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth hospital released a statement saying the 23-year-old student had died "peacefully” early Saturday local time.
The hospital’s chief executive, Dr. Kevin Loh, said the victim died surrounded by her family and officials from the Indian embassy.
Loh said she suffered from severe organ failure, following injuries to her body and brain.
“She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome,” he said.
The victim was transported to Singapore for treatment on Thursday, after suffering severe internal injuries, a lung infection, a heart attack and brain damage.
Indian High Commissioner, T.C.A. Raghanvan told reporters that arrangements are being made to have the victim’s body returned to India.
The case has sparked outrage in India and has prompted near-daily demonstrations in New Delhi and across the country.
Angry protesters are demanding greater protections from violent sexual acts, from groping to rape, that affect thousands of women across the country but often go unreported.
Police in New Delhi took strides to contain and end the protests, shutting down roads and using tear gas and water cannons on the protesters.
The government appealed for calm and promised to fast-track the case. It also said it would look at new measures to prevent crimes against women.
Earlier this week Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told protesters the government would “make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety of women in this country.”
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said he would consider the demands that all arrested suspects in the case face the death penalty.
Other Indian officials, however, have been slammed for comments that insulted the protesters and downplayed the nature of the crime.
National lawmaker and son of India’s president, Abhijit Mukherjee, apologized on Friday for calling the protesters “highly dented and painted” women, who go from discos and nightclubs to demonstrations.
The victim and a male friend were on a public bus on Dec. 16 when they were attacked by six men who took turns raping her after beating both of them. The attacks continued while the bus made its way through the city, even passing through police checkpoints.
The men are accused of inserting a rod into her body. The victim and her friend were eventually stripped naked and dumped on the side of a road.
The horrific crime has brought the reality of violence against women in India to the international stage.
Sexually assaulted women are often blamed for the crime, which causes them to keep quiet and refrain from reporting it to police for fear of shaming their families. Also, police often refuse to accept complaints from those who do report rape and cases that do reach the court drag on for years.
There are more than 40,000 rape cases before the Indian courts.
With files from The Associated Press
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